Palatable inspiration for the food & beverage scene

food & beverage
food & beverage


Palatable inspiration for the food & beverage scene

There’s a vibe among foodie consumers, both locals and tourists alike, to experience vibrant venues and fresh flavours when the chance presents – and budget allows. So as you investigate job opportunities in this growing niche, here are the trends to bear in mind to keep you rising above the competition in your next food and beverage job

interview, says Charles Edelstein of Executive Placements.

Move over Asian fusion… South Africa is seeing a Latino influence taking the spotlight right now, revealing Spanish-style pop ups in food courts, and Mexican restaurants brimming with patrons on copious street corners. Just visit La Parada at the V&A Waterfront on a Friday evening, where their tapas dishes (patatas bravas, or fresh salmon with wasabi mayo, anyone?) will more than inspire you to order that second Corona or glass of wine. Hankering after the taste of mother Mexico? You’ll find all your favourites, from spicy jalapeño poppers, bean-filled fajitas, and the chilliest of margaritas at Joburg’s Perron (Illovo or Bryanston branches).

This kind of dining, with its spirited music and bright hues, lends itself well to high-end markets and foodie events too – such as the Old Biscuit Mill, in Cape Town’s Woodstock, or the Neighbourhood Goods Market in Joburg’s Braamfontein. At venues such as this, visitors are encouraged to walk, talk, try, and accumulate best-in-class items to take home – while those with a touch of culinary flair have the opportunity to book a stand and offer up their artisanal gourmet foods for every adventurous passerby.

For chefs who prefer to play deep into the melting pot of South African-icity that keeps our tourists returning, its vital to give a nod to grains (and their derived flours), such as quinoa, teff, sorghum, fonio, ground nuts, and millet in your produce. If wine making or craft beer is your baby, remember the power of the accompanying charcuterie board – and think soft, melted butter sprinkled with spices; fresh produce for colour (veg slices in season work well); together with toasted crostinis to dip and local cheeses to spread. Cured meat adds mouthfeel and substance for the carnivores.

Foodie entrepreneurs can’t go wrong by marketing their enterprises online and partnering up, galore, with home-delivery services. Get a customer, or target market, hooked on your flavour and value for money, and incoming revenue will soar. Also, take cognisance of your establishment’s most popular dishes, and consider limiting your menu to fewer high-quality dishes – that you’re able to perfect – rather than multiple options of which the chef is less confident.

If fine dining (or at least serving clients in such establsihments) is your career game, do not hesitate to apply for positions that uphold the highest possible level of customer satisfaction – together with a world-class ranking for their menu and cuisine. A few options to consider, include the Western Cape’s Fyn, La Colombe and Wolfgat; and Durban’s LivingRoom at Summer Hill Guest Estate.

Here, you’ll be delivering to table signature dishes ranging from Fyn’s Ostrich egg chawanmushi, Guinea fowl wonton, and Outeniqua springbok; to Tuna La Colombe, served as it is in a gorgeous branded tin; Wolfgat’s seasonal tasting menu, which draws inspiration from the surrounding landscape (i.e. seasonal seafood, local lamb and venison, wild herbs and rock pool-procured seaweed); and LivingRoom’s Beef picañha, smoked zulu pumpkin & willowdale truffle, as one of many mind-blowingly flavourful experiences at the latter venue.

The cross-over of cultures is strong in our land, as is the quality of our meat and fresh produce. Not everyone is keen on alcoholic beverages, so there’s a place for every drink – from a cocktail to a brewed beer – to be reconstructed in non-alcoholic fashion. Source your ingredients from local producers, allow guests to build their own (salads, pizzas); invest in plant-based options to open up new (vegan/vegetarian) audiences; and try out the kitchen automation offerings available on the market – it will make your life easier, while keeping skilled servers and culinary talent in high demand.

The food and beverage scene in SA is your oyster, and then some – a place where a job seeker or entrepreneur simply needs to pair passion, with a sought-after skillset. So whether you’re a wanna-be restaurant investor, a just-qualified sous chef, or a craft beer brewer extraordinaire, there is likely to be a food and beverage job – or related opportunity – just waiting for your attention.